Part one is here
I was going to my favorite magazine/coffee shop to try and pick up a copy of Fashion magazine. Since I started doing all this portrait/fashion photography I have started to read magazines such as Fashion, Nylon, Elle, and many others to try and familiarize myself with the work that is shown in them. I think it’s important to not only understand the photography aspect but as well the hair, makeup and styling aspects of the images. Try to follow the trends and see what editors look for…. ok I’m getting a little off topic here… back to my story
I asked the girl who was working there whether they had a copy or not. She was kneeling, with her head down, sorting through magazines to put on the shelves. “Excuse me, do you know where I could find a copy of Fashion?” I said. When she looked up, I was struck. This girl had “the look”. She had striking facial features, great eyes, defined cheekbones, and a very interesting face shape. She had on Ray-Ban style glasses, and I could just tell she had a knack for fashion. My mind started racing…. could I find the courage to ask her to model for me?? Should I just wait until next time I’m in?? How would I start the conversation?? You know that feeling when you want to ask someone on a date, but don’t know how?? That’s how I felt, my palms were sweaty, I was nervous, and I began to stumble over my words. Now let me say that I am a very happily married man, to the most amazing woman in the world, and had no intention on approaching her in that way, and never do. But I just had that same type of feeling as when you’re asking someone out, you know what I mean??
She looked through the shelves and couldn’t find the magazine anywhere, so I asked her if she could check out back. I knew that whatever stock they had was generally kept on the shelves but I figured it would buy me some time to build more courage. I grabbed my phone and called my wife. “I’m at the store and I think I’ve found someone that I want to ask to shoot, but I don’t know if I can” I said. Now she is the most supportive woman in the world, she pushes me to do things I never thought I could, and so the pep talk began. “You can do this, this is something you’ve been wanting to do for a while, just be calm, explain what you want to do, and everything will be great” she said. “I don’t know though, I’m so nervous, what if I come off the wrong way” I said. “Stop over thinking it, you’re ready for this, stop being such a wuss and just go for it” she said.
Have I mentioned how amazing she is???
So we hung up and I felt empowered, just as the girl returned from the back room, no magazine in hand, just as I knew she would. So I went for it. I explained who I was, what type of photography I did, and that I would be very interested in photographing her. I was stumbling over my words, I was so nervous. Am I saying the right things, do I sound stupid, what is she thinking of all this?? In case you haven’t noticed, I tend to over think things… (You have to be very careful on how you approach people for this, because there are many creepy people out there and girls are right to be skeptical when being approached by a strange man asking them to pose for photos) I reached into my pocket to give her a business card and I realized I left them in my other coat. Oh no, I thought, I’m going to come off as such an amateur and my nerves increased. I asked her to grab a piece of paper and I wrote my website and my email address down and told her to check out my work and if she liked what she saw, and was interested, to send me an email and we would work out a date for a shoot. As it turned out she has a strong interest in fashion, and seemed to be fairly interested, but in all my nervousness I was having trouble reading her. As I left the store I exhaled, it was over, there was nothing more I could do, it was all in her hands now. I called my wife to tell her I did it, and how nervous I was, she just said how proud she was of me and that she was sure that it would be fine. God love her.
Thus began the waiting period. Checking my email every hour for a message. Hours turned into a day or so, and I started second guessing my approach. You know when you ask someone out and give them your number and then you sit by the phone waiting for them to call, and the anxiety grows & grows. That’s how I felt, slightly ridiculous, I know. Believe me, my wife had many laughs at my expense over those few days. Then it happened the email came in, she said she checked out my work and loved what she saw and would be very interested in working with me. Phewf, what a relief. We booked a day for the shoot and a few weeks later she came by the studio for a shoot with 4 looks. I’m sure she was a little nervous, understandably, but as the shoot went on I saw her get more and more comfortable in front of the lens, and I’m happy to say the shoot went awesome. She has a real knack for modeling and I hope that she continues with it to whatever degree she is comfortable with. She’s even going to model again for me for a huge project I’m doing in April, and I hope to do more shoots with her in the future.
Since asking her, I have asked 4 more people, and 3 of the 4 have said yes. I have photographed 2 of them so far with fantastic results. I’m okay with the fact that not everyone will want to be photographed, and I have become much more comfortable approaching people, and have tried to hone my approach. I have gone back to the magazine store a quite a few times since to pick up more mags and have not seen her there once. If I hadn’t asked her that day, I may never have had another chance, so I am very thankful I got that push to ask her that day.
So step out of your comfort zone, and do something that scares you, something you have always wanted to do. No matter what that may be, and whatever the results are it allows you to grow as a person and give you some extra confidence to do it again and again. You will see that it’s not as hard as you thought it would be, and as long as you learn from the situation and grow from it, it’s a positive.